Whose client is it, anyway? Referral versus Collaboration in a Business Consulting / Exit Planning Engagement.
Applying 'Roles and Responsibilities' best practices to consulting engagements: CoreValue Driver #15.1
Business owners face both business and personal considerations when they begin to plan for their eventual exit from their privately-held company. However very few, if any, advisors or consultants in the marketplace are proficient in addressing both the corporate and the personal needs of that owner.
CoreValue’s Discover asks the business owner this opening question: “Do you have a personal financial plan that dovetails your personal and business objectives?” Most answer “No.”
Doesn’t it seem odd that one of the most sought-after segments of clients – business owners – have such easily identifiable needs yet few, if any, advisors or consultants can deliver a complete, comprehensive solution?
If you agree with the premise of this article, read on: you're seeking the same answers to questions that will be posed at the ‘Beyond the Exit Plan’ Conference in Orlando March 22nd and 23rd.
Starting with a Plan for an Exit
Pinnacle Equity Solutions is a company dedicated to teaching exit strategy training to experts who go on to achieve the Certified Business Exit Consultant® designation. The exit planning process that a CBEC® deploys for owners includes both personal and business planning.
As a business consultant, would it surprise you to learn that, according to Pinnacle’s Business Exit Readiness Index (BERI) survey – completed by over 1,000 business owners - more than 80% of business owners want to stay and grow their company instead of exiting today? And further, that the exit consultants who are primarily trained as personal advisors do not have a consistent, readily identifiable group of business consultants with whom to collaborate on value growth? Many CBECs are Personal Advisors who are highly skilled at managing the exit/growth plan, but whose firm draws clear lines around business activities that they can and cannot get involved in, much less have the training for. These provide ample impetus for collaboration between Personal Advisors and Business Consultants.
The CoreValue Consultants
Let’s put this in CoreValue context. CoreValue Driver #15.1 sets out the best practice for Senior Management - Roles and Responsibilities: “Throughout your company, there are clear and understood roles and responsibilities for senior managers [your advisors] that support the company's objectives.” Doesn’t it make sense, as peers with the senior team, to hold ourselves to the same best practice?
What is the client's objective? To “build a strong, valuable company that serves my life goals.” What else do they want? A solid personal planning approach that helps assure that the wealth that they are creating through Value Growth will be preserved and protected over future generations.
All too often, as business consultants, we forget that there is a personal side to our clients. When it comes to decision making, this personal side is an equal (and sometimes more powerful) force than the business issues. This is even more the case when a business owner begins down the path of an exit. Business consultants need partnerships with personal advisors as much as the reverse is true. Bringing a personal advisor into a business consulting engagement only enhances your credibility – but do you know where to find them and what questions to ask to identify a solid collaboration partner?
Over the past few months, CoreValue has been working directly with Pinnacle members using the CoreValue ‘Discover’ free initial assessment of company strength and value to start the value growth conversation. Through these conversations it became clear that additional expertise is needed to move beyond the exit plan into value growth. Qualified CoreValue-powered advisors are perfect potential partners.
This is why Pinnacle and CoreValue are inviting their respective communities of advisors and consultants to attend this year’s Beyond the Exit Plan conference, the Pinnacle annual event being held in Orlando this March 22nd and 23rd. CoreValue's methodology has a strong record helping advisory teams collaborate --getting everyone pulling in the same direction. We are going to work together and establish the best practices, roles and responsibilities that can guide collaboration inside engagements.
We’ll be there, with a group of 10 or so CoreValue thought leaders --advisors just like you. We’ve decided to open up the invitation. You should come, do you want to know why? (1) You'll meet and engage with a select group of CBECs and CoreValue-powered advisors. (2) Our common goal is to create best practices for CBECs and CoreValue-powered advisors to collaborate on cases, and you can add your voice to our thought leaders' presentations. (3) We’ll also lay the groundwork for the CoreValue User’s Group conference this October.
The Orlando agenda is focused on collaboration, on building a system through which advisors can find each other and collaborate reaching the client’s goals...
Here’s the thing: if we get this right, the answer to “Whose client is it anyway?” changes from “Mine” to “Ours.” And the question will be answered for you and your practice as to whether you are in the market seeking ‘referrals’ or whether you are truly ‘collaborative’ in your approach, building mutually beneficial advisor partnerships that last for years.
Sign up for Friday's Master Class: a conversation between John Leonetti, CEO of Pinnacle Equity Solutions and George Sandmann, President of CoreValue Advisor Software about collaboration and the 'Beyond the Exit Plan' conference.